The King’s Speech: Houston? We Have a Problem

Can the Dolphins take down the Texans?

 

by Jeff “The King” Horowitz

 

“Miami’s Sam Madison said to me, `I’ll see you after today’s practice.’ That was their thinking — they were looking at us like this was just a little practice.”

— Texans WR Jabar Gaffney, 2003

 

That was Week One of the 2003 NFL Season – the first time the Miami Dolphins ever played (and lost) to the expansion Houston Texans, who were 14 point underdogs that day. Miami, lead by a 25 year old, in-his-prime Ricky Williams, and the 2003 versions of Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, were tagged as Super Bowl contenders that season. They lost that first game 21-20, at home to Houston,  and failed to qualify for the Playoffs.

If the Dolphins were “practicing” anything that Sunday afternoon 8 years ago, it was how to lose to the Houston Texans. They’ve become damn good at it.

"Can I get you anything, sir?"

Since 2003, Miami has lost 4 more times to Houston:

In 2006 with NapoleonNick Saban and Daunte ‘Slow-Pepper’ sputtering at the helm.

In 2007 we gasped in horror while watching Trent Green’s brain go from ‘Denver Omelette’ to ‘scrambled eggs’ in an instant.

2008 : Matt Schaub threw for 380 yards and scored the winning touchdown on the final play of the game.

2009 : Houston went up 27-0 within the game’s first 18 minutes, and ended up winning 27-20.

The 5 Houston victories over Miami have been decided by an average of 3 points. The Dolphins were one or two plays away from winning in each of those contests.

Is Sunday the day that Miami finally gets a win over the Houston Texans?

Probably not…. and here’s why:

 

Houston’s Offense

Not only did Matt Schaub throw for 4800 yards and 29 TD’s two years ago, but he also married this hottie:

#Winning!

Apparently these two lovebirds met while Schaub was backing up Michael Vick in Atlanta 5 years ago. I’m actually puzzled as to why she went for Schaub, the backup, and not “Ron Mexico”. Either way, this guy must be loving life – throwing bombs to Andre Johnson at work, and coming home to a former-NFL Cheerleader at the end of the day.

My point is this: Matt Schaub just might be as cool as Tom Brady off the field as well as on it. That spells trouble for the struggling Dolphins ‘D.

In 2008, Schaub threw for 380 yards on the Dolphins- 180 of those to Andre Johnson. Back then a 30 year old Will Allen got torched by ‘Andre 3000’. This Sunday, a 33 year old, hasn’t-played-since 2009 Will Allen will attempt to help keep Johnson in check.

"Dude, you should see her do a split!"

Running back Arian Foster is back in the lineup this Sunday after sitting out Week One vs Indy. Foster, who is only 24 – rushed for 1600 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. He also caught 66 passes, making him a major receiving threat out of the backfield.

Foster’s backup, Ben Tate ran for 116 yards last week – so this is no Danny Woodcock Woodhead/ Ben Jarvis-Green-Ellis backfield we’re facing. Oh yea, and they have big Owen Daniels at Tight End, and everyone knows what TEs do to Dolphins linebackers and safeties.

 

Houston’s D

In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans had the #1 overall pick in what was called the “Reggie Bush Sweepstakes”.  Apparently, the Texans won the Reggie Bush Sweepstakes, simply by NOT drafting Reggie Bush.

Instead they drafted All-Pro defensive end/ outside linebacker Mario Williams, making then-Texans GM Charlie Casserly look like the smartest man in football, simply because he did not draft Reggie Bush. Ouch.

Mario liked Ray-J better

This offseason the Texans signed interception machine Johnathan Joseph away from the Bengals, and added Daniael Manning from Da Bears at safety. Former ‘Roid-head Brian Cushing led the team with 7 tackles last week vs Indy, as the Texans held the Manning-less Colts to 260 yards of total offense.

 

Fins Outlook

D-FENCE: Miami’s overrated highly-touted defense took a beating against the Pats last Sunday, giving up 622 total yards. Benny Sapp and his fake dreads are gone, and Will Allen is back in at nickelback. The cornerback duo of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith should be in much better condition than a week ago, when both suffered menstrual leg cramps in the 2nd Half.

Houston has better receivers, running backs, and a much stronger O-Line than last week’s opponent – so Mike Nolan and the Dolphins ‘D need to figure it out, once and for all.

Smart to wear masks

 

Fins’ Offense

QB: Chad Henne needs to once again display the confidence and leadership qualities present last Monday night. His 59 rushing yards (a Dolphins franchise record for a QB) shows that Henne is adjusting well to the extra freedom to make on-the-fly adjustments, even after the ball is snapped. Henne’s 416 passing yards were a direct result of new OC Brian Daboll’s aggressive play-calling and allowing Chad to take big chances downfield. As spectacular as Henne looked in his record setting night against the Patriots, he still choked in the red-zone. This has to change for Chad to take the next step.

Unfortunately, Houston’s D is tougher than New England, so don’t expect another 400 yard, or even 300 yard game from Henne.

Henne runs from the Haters

RB: Back to Bush. Reggie Bush is not an every-down back, as evidenced by last week’s 38 yards on 11 carries. Bush is a speciality player, kind of like Darren Sproles. When the Dolphins have 3rd and 1, they cannot go to Reggie on a HB Dive. He’s just not good running between the tackles, and will not be physically able to pound out that 1 yard. (That’s also what Kim Kardashian said last weekend!)

Rookie RB Daniel Thomas is back after a full week of practice, and should get about 10-12 carries. 3rd string RB Larry Johnson also had a productive week in practice, and should see the field on Sunday.

WR: Brandon Marshall averaged 20 yards per catch last week vs New England, racking up 140 yards, including a 31 yard play. B-Marsh was targeted 16 times by Henne (but only reeled in 7) which is just a borderline performance. (Too soon??) I’m encouraged by the fact that OC Brian Daboll wants to feature his huge WR into the game plan, and it bodes well for Marshall’s in-game attention span.

Devon Bess had a solid 92 yard game last week, but Henne needs to get him much more involved in the passing game. Reggie Bush had 9 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown last week, which is nice, but 6.2 yards per catch isn’t really that impressive either.

Losing looks like so much fun

 

Trends

Miami has lost 10 of their past 11 home games, dating back to the end of the 2009 season.

Miami has now gone 20 consecutive games without a 100 yard rusher.

Miami was 2 for 14 on 3rd-down conversions last week vs. New England.

Miami has started the season 0-2 four out of the last five years.

Houston set an opening weekend NFL record last week by scoring 34 points in the 1st Half vs Indy.

Houston DE/Linebacker Mario Williams had 2 more sacks last weekend, increasing his career total to 50.

 

Houston??? Yea. I think the Dolphins definitely have a problem.